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Shovel Knight coming to Linux and Mac with new content

Pretty much everybody is starting to get excited about the Shovel Knight release date — if they haven’t been excited about it all along. After a brief delay to add extra content, Shovel Knight reached its final build last week, and will be out on Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and Steam pretty soon. The folks at idigitaltimes recently caught up with Nick Wozniak and the team at Yacht Club Games to talk about what we can expect when Shovel Knight drops — check it out below to learn more about the Shovel Knight release date, the game’s structure, battle mode and more!

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The Shovel Knight release date will be simultaneous across Wii U, 3DS, and Steam, and should be coming up soon. (Image: Yacht Club Games)

Congrats on the final build! What does that mean in terms of the release date for Shovel Knight? Are you aiming for a simultaneous release on Wii U, 3DS, and Steam?

Yacht Club Games: Thanks so much! It’s been such a long journey but we are all really happy with where we’ve landed! Now that the game is shipped off and out of our hands, we are eagerly watching our email inboxes, awaiting news of our release date. When you send off a game for certifications, you are basically inserting your game into a black box that eats submission candidates and spits out approvals or rejections. It’s a mysterious process known only to a few, but once we have word, we’ll make sure everyone knows our actual real release date. And, yes, the release will be simultaneous for all of our launch platforms!

Q: Is there a story? Who is this Shovel Knight? Where did he get a shovel?

YCG: Shovel Knight is a small knight with a huge quest: to defeat the evil Enchantress and save his lost beloved. But between Shovel Knight and his beloved stands a cadre of villainous knights! These terrible foes, known as The Order of No Quarter, have been dispatched to prevent Shovel Knight from reaching the Enchantress, and will pursue their mission at any cost.

As for his Shovelblade, that just happens to be his preferred weapon. We really spent a lot of time making the world and characters exciting and interesting enough to draw players back to playing Shovel Knight time and time again.



Q: How long is the game?

YCG: The game’s length heavily depends on what the player’s expectations are. If you think back to the first time you played and finished Super Metroid, you may remember your time at the end being 7, 8 maybe even 10 hours!! But there are pros out there that can beat the game in under an hour, start to finish! Shovel Knight is the same way.

We’ve had lots of people playtest it and some of their times were hitting the 6-8 hour mark, whereas the team did a few speed runs and I think the fastest time was under an hour and 10 minutes. I’m sure that time can be improved and we are really excited to see that happen!


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Shovel Knight aims for Metroid-style replayability, with a focus on secrets and exploration. (Image: Yacht Club Games)

Q: How do upgrades work? What customization options are available?

YCG: Shovel Knight is a game born of a few simple mechanics but there are a few upgrades and secondary weapons that will help the player on their adventure. You’ll be able to upgrade Shovel Knight’s armor and even the Shovelblade itself!

As we designed and iterated on possible upgrades, we wanted to avoid just making an increase to minor stats. Instead, we made each of the upgrades something that changes the way you play. For example, my favorite armor upgrade is called the Dynamo Armor. While wearing this armor, Shovel Knight gets a more powerful attack after bouncing twice in a row off an enemy or object. It really changes the rhythm of play and, if used well, grants a huge advantage to the player when trying to defeat the more powerful enemies.

Q: Tell me all the cool secrets so I don’t have to find them myself!

YCG: We added a ton of secrets and to tell you all of them would take all day! Besides the enormous amount of in-game secret areas, collectable items, and sub-weapons, the team also implemented 300+ additional secret codes that unlock very different, crazy things from cool abilities to Shovel Knight being 4 times his normal size! These were mainly done as a fulfillment of one our Kickstarter rewards: the “Gimme the Dirt” tier.

The pledgers who backed this tier will be rewarded with a letter from the team, a sample of dirt from one of the locations in the game and a secret that only they know! Those secret codes are going to be theirs to do with as they see fit, and we are really excited to see what happens to them. Will they be out online within a week? Or will somebody take their precious secret to the grave? We’ll have to wait and find out!

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The game will have a multiplayer Battle Mode, although that will come out as a free update sometime after the main Shovel Knight release date. (Image: Yacht Club Games)

Q: How does Battle Mode work?

YCG: As one of the stretch goals, Battle Mode won’t be coming with the initial release. We are starting work on it right now, along with our long list of stretch goals, which will all come as free updates in the coming months. Since we haven’t had much time to think about the specifics of what Battle Mode is yet, there’s not much to talk about. However! All of the bosses will be playable in it so you’ll be able to compete with your friends using your favorite knight from The Order of No Quarter! Until then, you’ll have to release your battle rage in the StreetPass Arena.

Q: Are there any special features unique to particular versions?

YCG: The core of Shovel Knight is the same across all platforms, but each platform brings with it unique features that we are doing our best to support. For example, Steam has trading cards, Wii U has Miiverse support, and the 3DS has StreetPass!

We’re really excited for StreetPass, even if it is a little strange. The way that it works is this: you record yourself in a single screen arena swinging your shovel around and collecting gems. This lasts for three 5 second matches. Then when you StreetPass with someone, their recording is flipped and played on top of yours. Whoever gets the first hit or collects the most gems wins! Fighting an unseen opponent can be a little silly, but we think you’ll find it to be a ton of fun!

Q: Any favorite (or least favorite) moments from development?

YCG: That’s a big question! We’ve had more than a year of development on this game. There’s lots of highlights that we can think of but one of the absolute favorites has to be on the last day of our Kickstarter, during our 24-hour livestream. As we watched the counter surpass our last stretch goal, and as we fended off sleep, it finally hit us that Shovel Knight was a real thing that people were extremely excited about. It has been the motivation, keeping us pumped enough to make it through rest of the development.

Q: Do you have further plans for Shovel Knight? Other platforms? DLC?

YCG: All kinds of plans! We’d love to keep expanding the Shovel Knight universe with more games.  It would be really fun to explore what a 16-bit or even 3d Shovel Knight would play like.  But before we get to that, we still have a lot of stretch goals to hit. In terms of more platforms, one of our stretch goals is to release for Linux and Mac!  So that’s next!  And after that, we’ll be releasing all of that new content for free as soon as possible!

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Kickstarter ‘Cold War 2’ launches for Linux, Mac, PC

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A new video game called Cold War 2 has just been announced. Cold War 2 represents our first foray into markets other than Russia. The announcement of a game like Cold War 2 on Kickstarter comes at a time when tensions between the United States and Russia are very high; the game assumes that these tensions escalate even further and go on to affect and polarize the rest of the world.

Unapologetically cheeky and satirical, Cold War 2 depicts some time in the near future where “you can battle against vaguely communist Russian um, communists with your forces of Rambo American awesomeness,” with North Korea thrown into the mix. The central hub of the game is the world map, where you can choose which country you’d like to play as and where you’d like to battle, while local maps are where the fighting takes place. Maps are inspired by cities and landmarks around the world, such as Moscow, New York, and London’s Big Ben, with many others slated for inclusion within the game’s assortment of maps.



Weapons, supplies, armor, med kits, and clothes can be purchased for your soldiers, whom you may customize as individuals or as groups, and weapons can be upgraded and/or repaired in repair workshops. Once you’ve prepared your team for battle, you can choose between a number of missions on the World Map. In the game’s Community, players can create their own clans and can invite other players to join or compete against them. Players will be ranked against both online and AI counterparts.

In terms of gameplay, Cold War 2 is being described as “a turn based strategy with options for online play. Battles can unfold between two players who can each wield between 1-5 soldiers. Likewise, battles can unfold between 3-10 players who can each control between 1-2  soldiers.” Battlefields have sectors that are traversable or non-traversable, and soldiers can sometimes hide within the latter, though they can only move through a certain number of sectors each turn. Melee to range-based weaponry is at your disposal, with each weapon possessing its own range and lethality, and health is affected when a solider wounded or killed.

Cold War 2 is a combination of MOBA, strategy and RPG mechanics. It’s something that doesn’t want to take itself too seriously, as evidenced by its inclusion of dolphin shooting machine guns and the creatively entitled Sovereign Confederate Kingdom of Florida… Cold War 2 is coming to Windows, Linux, Mac, Wii U, IOS, Android, 3DS and PS Vita first.

As of today, Cold War 2 has $110 pledged towards its goal of $2,500, with 27 days to go until its deadline of June 10. Check out its Kickstarter page for more info and to pledge if you’re interested in funding the game.



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Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter Stretch Goals Added With Co-Op and Next-Gen Consoles

Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter Stretch Goals Added With Co-Op and Next-Gen Consoles

You’ve probably heard about Mighty No. 9 by now, Keiji Inafune’s spiritual successor to the beloved Mega Man series. It was revealed about nine days ago at PAX Prime and is nearly reaching $2 million. The game has already hit its funding goal and will definitely be heading to the PC, Mac, and Linux. A new revised goal of $2.2 million is in reach for PS3, X360, and Wii U versions, and now comcept has added new stretch goals including the chance for the game to hit PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

In an update on Kickstarter, a new handful of stretch goals reveal a bonus boss rush mode at $2 million, which would have players battle bosses back-t0-back against the clock. At $2.4 million, a new challenge mode will be added to the game, which will remix levels and enemies for new mini-missions. For $2.55 million, a full extra end stage and original boss will be added as part of the end game.

Should the Kickstarter reach $2.75 million, an online co-op challenge mode will be incuded, having players take control of both Beck and Call. In this online co-op mode, players will be able to tackle dozens of missions, which will also have remixed levels similar to the game’s challenge mode.  Additional stretch goals are also set at $2.9 million and $3.1 million, but the details for those goals have yet to be announced.

Finally, due to overwhelming feedback, the developer will add PS4 and Xbox One versions should the campaign reach $3.3 million. This will make a whole lot of sense as the game is targeted for a Spring 2015 release. By that time, the next-generation cycle will be well underway when the game is finally finished. Backers will have the option to choose these platforms as their digital copy reward, assuming that the Kickstarter does reach $3.3 million.

For people wishing Vita and 3DS versions of the game, there’s a chance that it may come in a future stretch goal but nothing is confirmed yet. Here is what they have to say:
Handhelds are still a possibility! Just because you don’t see them in this next set of goals doesn’t mean we aren’t working on this. :) We know many of you have been asking about the possibility of Vita and 3DS versions of Mighty No. 9, so now we know the desire is most definitely there — what’s left is to figure out if the money and production realities can make this possible. We wish we could say more at this point, but we can say this: There might be other ways to make this happen (besides stretch goals) that we are currently investigating. (Or maybe it will end up being a later stretch goal after all?)

Either way, we hope to have an update of some kind on this by later next week — and just to be 100% clear, this is not a confirmation we can or will be able to offer handheld versions, only that we hear your feedback here, and there are some interesting possibilities we are busy looking into!
Have you funded Mighty No. 9 yet?



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Pandora: The Handheld Console for Linux Tweakers

SemiAccurate recently interviewed Micheal Mrozek, one of the core members of a small company named OpenPandora, which produces the Pandora handheld gaming console. Long before Kickstarter and crowd sourced development funding became the flavor of the week, the OpenPandora team was designing and producing their own handheld gaming console based off of what their fellow forum members wanted. The idea behind the Pandora was to produce a handheld gaming console that met the needs of their highly active, but small, forum. It had to be a fully functional Linux PC, have an awesome D-pad, and be powerful enough to emulate the mass market console gaming systems that had proceeded it. It took a long time to get all of the pieces into place (read: four years of hardship and delays), but the Pandora has finally matured into the handheld console that its steadfast supporters have always hoped it would.

It’s often best to let those who care the most about a product describe it in detail. As such we asked Micheal to give us a run down of what specifically the Pandora is.

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Many of our readers many not know very much about the Pandora, so can you describe the product to me?

That’s pretty hard, as it can do so many things it’s hard to put it into one category. Well, basically, it’s a miniature Linux PC the size of a Nintendo DS, so way smaller than a Netbook. So you got a pretty neat keyboard, a high-res touchscreen, an incredible battery time (over 10 hours in normal usage) and can do things you can do on a normal PC. Coding, Office Work, Websurfing, etc. However, that’s not all. You also have a proper DPad and buttons to play games – and we made sure these are one of the best (as we’re gamers ourselves). So you can both replay classic games (SNES, Genesis, Arcade, Amiga, C64, Playstation, etc.), play Linux or Homebrew games or even code your own games. And another special thing is: It’s open. If you want to run Android on it, you can do so. You rather want Debian, Slackware or Ubuntu? You’re free to do that. It’s up to you what you want to do with your Pandora. We won’t lock you down. Heh, and you can also chat with the creators of the device – ever tried doing this with the PSVita or Samsung Galaxy chief developer?

A lot of people believe that the commercial success of hardware products, like this one, is decided by whether or not it has a “killer” feature. To that end we wanted to know what Micheal thought was the most important feature that the Pandora has to offer.

What is your favorite function of the current Pandora?

Besides being able to play my PlayStation RPG-Collection on-the-go, I’d say it’s not a function but the community behind it. It’s so much fun seeing first versions of new games or ports – and then following the improvements and enhancements which are being included and discussed by and with the community. That’s awesome. It’s also nice being able to play Android games with proper gaming controls and NOT having to fear that they gather any personal contact data from your system.

One of the more harrowing details of the history of the Pandora as a product has been the countless production mishaps, thus we thought it would be nice to see approximately how big the user base is for the Pandora.

Approximately how many units of the Pandora have been shipped?

Should be about 4000 now.

While 4000 units is a number that compares poorly to mainstream consoles (and Windows Phone 7 sales /pun), it actually a testament to how dedicated the team at OpenPandora is to their product. This is especially apparent when you consider how difficult it is to get a project like this one off the ground, and after you’ve read through some of the news posts on the OpenPandora forums that describe in detail the difficulties of manufacturing the Pandora.

Speaking of manufacturing, the Pandora is a product whose design has continued to evolve since its inception.

The latest version of Pandora seems to have amassed quite a few improvements compared the initial batches back in 2010, what’s changed?

The first initial batch really had some issues. The LCD Cable failed after a while, the nubs did as well. The case also had some weak spots which easily broke. The CPU used back then also had some bugs which have been removed in the current versions. Luckily, all these things were fixable. The new LCD Cables don’t fail anymore – and if an old one fails, we’re replacing it with the new one. Same with the nubs. The case has been improved as well and the weak spots have been strengthened. Oh, and the new units got more RAM – and we also have upcoming versions with a faster CPU. However, all these units are using the same OS and are compatible. This was very important for us.

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Moving the focus onto an aspect of the Pandora that its larger competitors like to talk about, we wanted to learn more about the ecosystem surrounding the Pandora.

What do you think is the strongest draw to the Pandora, and it’s ecosystem, for prospective users?

It surely depends on the user. I love that the Pandora is open, everyone is welcome to hack on it and play around as much as he likes. And the OS is not crippled – it’s a fully fledged Linux OS. Also, there are no hidden costs. You buy the Pandora once and there’s no need to pay any additional fees or buy games. Well, okay, you need at least one SD Card; And being able to run homebrew and emulators without having the everlasting fight between hackers and manufacturers is great as well. However, while these are strong points for the users who love the Pandora, it also are the weak points for some others. Being open and uncrippled means that it’s a bit more complicated to use than an Android smartphone for example, as it’s a lot more flexible. You can compare it to a normal desktop PC: Even inexperienced users can use stuff like an iPad, but a desktop PC with many possibilities is too complex to them. It doesn’t mean the Pandora is hard to use. If you are experienced enough to know what a ZIP-Archive is, you should be able to use a PC.

The Pandora is not meant to compete for the same class of users that Apple and Nintendo branded products are aimed at. Instead it’s designed to meet the needs of users who are really interested in knowing and understanding exactly how to get what they want from their hardware.

What does the future hold for you and the Pandora?

Who knows? Hopefully, it will continue to sell well. As the Pandora is not being made by a huge company in a developing country, the price is high compared to other devices, like smartphones. However, if you check the message boards, almost everyone will tell you it’s worth the price. We are hoping we’ll be able to continue development and release a Pandora 2 at some point… An OMAP5 with quadcore would surely rock. But it would only make sense if we made money with the Pandora 1 to fund the development of a sequel.

The ~$500 price is the biggest and most obvious draw back to the Pandora, but as any BMW or Audi salesman will be happy to remind you, there is some merit to owning a product of Germany.

What are your thoughts on the sales decline of dedicated hand held gaming consoles (like the PS Vita, and the 3DS) over the past few years?

As far as I know, the 3DS sells pretty well now that it has some good games available. The PS Vita is technically an impressive console – but it doesn’t offer a new in gaming experience. Gamers who have been playing games for years are looking for good games, not only good hardware. As can be seen with all these remakes of classic games we get today (Rayman, Speedball 2, etc.), it’s not all about graphics, it’s about fun and gameplay. And MANY classic old games have more charming appeals than the latest and greatest games. If the PS Vita had more interesting games, it would sell better. I’m also one of these gamers: I only buy a console when there are good games out there. I have a 3DS, but no Vita yet. And I just bought a PS3 – as Tales of Xillia is coming out now. So as long as the new devices don’t offer anything except for a bit better graphics, they won’t sell.

Micheal hit the nail on the head here. Many pundits often talk about the early troubles of mainstream console products such as the 3DS and cite the lack of substantive advantages that they can offer over their predecessors as their biggest drawbacks, and they are not wrong when they do so.

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Open Pandora is a very open and community oriented company, what is it like to try and maintain those principals day in and day out?

Oh, it’s pretty easy for me, as I’ve always been honest and open and always loved achievements that were made by a community and not a company.

Recently Open Pandora held an app competition in perparation of a new production run of Pandora units. This event was called the pandora Rebirth Competition.

Are you pleased with how the Pandora Rebirth Competition went?

Yes, there were some pretty neat releases PNDManager really enhances the Pandora a lot. It’s basically an app manager like Google Marketplace – but way more comfortable and nicer (well, in my opinion).

Closing out our interview with Micheal, we decided to hit him with a question that, while a little cliché, often offers a little tastes of a different perspective.

If you could return to the early days of Pandora development and give yourself, or one of your colleagues, a piece of advice, what would it be?

That’s easy: Always work with companies you can easily reach with your car in case anything goes wrong. It might cost more money, but it really helps. That’s the reason the Pandora PCB is now being produced here in Germany and future cases will be produced in England, right around Craigs corner (the iCP case is already being made there). It really is the only way to ensure reliable production.

So if you’re into retro gaming and handheld Linux consoles it would not hurt to spend a little time checking out with the Pandora has to offer. And if you’re planning on attending this year’s gamescon in Cologne you can find Micheal and some of the other Open Pandora guys in hall 10.1, at stand F70. Thanks again to Micheal for finding the time to do this interview.

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GameGadget handheld puts classic games in the palm of your hand

It wasn’t so long ago that the mobile gaming space was dominated by Nintendo and Sony. While both companies continue to stake a claim for the mobile gaming pie with the release of their latest handhelds – the 3DS and PlayStation Vita – dedicated mobile gaming consoles have been under serious fire from smartphones in recent years. But that hasn’t stopped a UK-based company entering the arena with the GameGadget – an open source console designed to let fans get their hands on classic games titles.

Looking a lot like a Nintendo DS that has had the top screen snapped off, the GameGadget is a Linux-based device designed specifically for “retro” games. Powered by a 433 MHz dual core CPU and 64 MB of RAM, the company says the unit is capable of playing over 100,000 classic games titles from multiple platforms. It can also serve as a multimedia playback device with the ability to play back audio and video files, and display eBooks and photos. The unit’s 2 GB of onboard storage can be boosted via SD/SDHC card.

The GameGadget’s 16 bit color 320 x 240 pixel LCD screen measures 3.5-inches and is surrounded either side by a D-pad, four face buttons, and start, select and reset buttons, with two shoulder buttons on the top side of the device. In keeping with the retro vibe, there’s no touchscreen, however, it does pack stereo speakers and a 3.5 mm headphone/TV out jack, alongside a Micro USB port for charging of the rechargeable battery and connecting to a PC for the transferring of games.

But it is the environment for supplying the games that the GameGadget is pinning its success on. Looking to emulate the success of Apple’s App Store, the GameGadget has been specifically designed alongside a GameGadgetGames software service that will allow users to purchase and download games through an iTunes-style application. It is also designed to make it easy for developers and game publishers to create and distribute their games.

An SDK has been released to allow developers to create new games and import existing titles. Although the device will support games up to 32-bit, the GameGadget is optimized for 16-bit titles. So expect plenty of side-scrolling action.

The video below doesn’t show any games running on the device, but provides a look at the unit itself and its user interface.

The GameGadget is available for pre-order now, with a release set for March 30.

Source: GameGadget


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With online sales growing, video game market to hit $81B by 2016 (exclusive)

Video game sales are expected to grow from $66 billion worldwide in 2010 to $81 billion by 2016, but that growth masks some profound changes that are happening in the industry. Namely, the world will shift from sales of games in physical stores to a wide variety of digital distribution methods, according to market researcher DFC Intelligence.

Online sales of games are the largest area of growth and could surpass retail sales as early as 2013, said David Cole, a long-time analyst at San Diego-based DFC, in an interview. Disruptions in the market will make it more complex for game publishers to run a business, but if they do it right, they could find untold riches.

The forecast includes revenue from all types of games, including console hardware and software (both physical and online), portable hardware and software, PC games, and games for mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets, music players and other devices that can play games as a secondary feature.

Cole said that global sales of physical game software peaked in 2008. That makes sense in part because the global financial crisis that hit in the latter part of that year caused a big shift from $60 console games to free-to-play games played online via PCs. Recession-shocked consumers felt the free-to-play titles were a better bargain.

But the decline of physical game sales will likely be slow and steady, not drastic, as users have to become accustomed to new ways of paying such as subscriptions or virtual item sales.

The report also predicts that the glory days of consoles are behind us. The Nintendo Wii U is expected to see strong sales starting in late 2012 (Nintendo hasn’t set a precise date yet), but Cole doesn’t think it will surpass the Wii’s sales. New consoles are also expected from Sony and Microsoft, but not until 2014 at the earliest, Cole said. The uncertainty around the timing of these new launches is one of the biggest unknowns in the industry. Cole said he believes Microsoft and Sony are enjoying rising profits from game sales now and aren’t motivated to incur a lot of new costs by introducing brand new consoles.

At some point, however, competition will force them to introduce new machines. Nintendo had a glorious year for the Wii and handheld DS system in 2008, but it has seen sales decline since that peak. So Nintendo is more motivated to launch a new machine. Nintendo introduced the 3DS earlier this year, but it has been so poorly received that Nintendo slashed the price. the Xbox 360 and the PS 3 may very well live up to their goals of lasting 10 years in the market. But if Microsoft and Sony don’t introduce new consoles in the new few years, they run the risk of turning consumers off.

“The issue is Sony and Microsoft don’t feel like they’re in a hurry to introduce new consoles,” Cole said.

That’s where there is more opportunity for online games, digital distribution, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. As those systems become more capable, they could become viable threats to the consoles and will grab more market share. The good thing about these new systems is they offer the best chance for the industry to win over new consumers who would never play a console game.

“We feel the consoles have hit their peak,” Cole said.

For publishers, the tough task becomes knowing where to place bets. They have to support the right game platforms and find all the niches to exploit.

In 2011, industry growth is expected to be just 3 percent. Overall retail hit a peak at $58 billion in 2008. By 2016, the retail market will shrink to $43 billion. Online sales are expected to increase from $19.3 billion in 2010 to $37.9 billion by 2016. This includes revenue from PC online games, console online games and mobile online games including mobile phones and tablets.

Cole noted that the game industry has surpassed sales of the music industry, but it remains behind movies, which generate more revenue if you count all of the different ways movies are monetized on different platforms.


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Did you know… Nintendo says to head online for game help, open source web browsing

Aug 25, 2011 by RawmeatCowboy

Here’s a couple of interesting ‘did you know’ features that I thought you guys might want to check out.

First up, where should you go for help when you’re stuck in a game? Nintendo 3DS instruction manuals tell you to hop online!

Certainly a bit different from the days when Nintendo wanted you to call them up!

Next up, did you know that parts of the 3DS web browser are open source? Nintendo says so right here.
The Internet Browser includes open source software licensed under the terms of the GNU library General Public License 2.0 or GNU Lesser General Public license 2.1 (collectively “the OSS Licenses”). In compliance with the OSS Licenses, we are making the source code of the open source software available to you.

*Please note that the open source software is without warranty of any kind.


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